Archive for May, 2013

Image

ImageIt’s a girl.  My wife and I are having a girl.  We just found out.  She is due sometime in November. 

Scandals

Posted: May 15, 2013 in rant
Tags: , , ,

Image

What Scandals?

Let me get this straight, Eric Holder is ordering the Department of Justice to investigate the IRS scandal that targeted conservative groups since 2010.  Meanwhile the DOJ itself is involved in a scandal when they secretly obtained phone records from up to 20 AP reporters and editors.   Not to mention there was an event that happened “a long time ago” in Benghazi, but really “what difference does it make?”  Is there time for a fourth scandal?  Enter Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, investigated by House committee for soliciting donations from companies her agency might regulate, to help sign up uninsured Americans for Obama Care (which is plumb full of scandal and corruption itself).

Image

Susan Rice

These scandals are coming “Fast and Furious”….oh, that sounds familiar as well…and not just because of Vin Diesel.  Of course, our Commander and Chief was not aware of none of this.  He was probably on vacation or campaigning, like he was when four American’s were being murdered because of a video.  Right Susan Rice?

Image

Jay Carney

Image

Baghdad Bob

Maybe it’s just me….But Jay Carney is starting to remind me more and more each day of this guy.

Maybe this is why?

Image

Just when I was finished writing this I come across another scandal involving the EPA hassling conservatives group.  Obama once referred to fellow Americans as enemies, simply because they differed from him.  Actions speak louder than words, and these actions (scandals) speak loudly to me.  In 2010 House Speaker John Boehner never said something so true:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a president in the White House who referred to Americans who disagree with him as ‘our enemies.’ Think about that. He actually used that word. When Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush used the word ‘enemy,’ they reserved it for global terrorists and foreign dictators — enemies of the United States. Enemies of freedom. Enemies of our country. Today, sadly, we have president who uses the word ‘enemy’ for fellow Americans — fellow citizens. He uses it for people who disagree with his agenda of bigger government — people speaking out for a smaller, more accountable government that respects freedom and allows small businesses to create jobs. Mr. President, there’s a word for people who have the audacity to speak up in defense of freedom, the Constitution, and the values of limited government that made our country great. We don’t call them ‘enemies.’ We call them ‘patriots.

ImageImageThe new Vikings Stadium was introduced last night and it is like something you have never seen before.  Personally, I love the design.  There sure are a lot of good things going on with the Minnesota Vikings right now.  New uniforms, new stadium coming and a couple of excellent recent drafts.  Not to mention, according to reports Brian Urlacher is close to making a decision on where he will play next season and he is leaning towards the Vikings.  The report, if true, would mean that the Vikings have already offered Urlacher.  I am 100% on board with signing him.  We have a young team and he would add some veteran leadership and teach some of the young LB’s a thing or two.

Here is some info on the new stadium from the Star Tribune:

The nearly billion-dollar Viking stadium that will rise from the ruins of the old Metrodome will be big, bold and put fans closer to the action than any other venue in professional football.

It’ll have giant pivoting glass doors that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline and a roof that, while not retractable, will let in so much sunlight come game days, fans will feel as though they’re sitting outdoors.

Seven stadium decks will surround a field of artificial turf and two giant high-tech scoreboards at each end zone will replay the big plays and flash the game stats.

In short, the still unnamed stadium, which will be connected by skyway to downtown, won’t be the Metrodome.

Details of the design were unveiled Monday by HKS Inc., the project architect, during an elaborate presentation at the Guthrie Theater. More than 500 people attended the event, including scores of fans decked out in purple-and-gold chanting the Vikings fight song and hollering approval from the balcony seats.

According to the first reviews from that admittedly biased crowd, the design scored big.

“The structure itself — it’s a beauty just to look at,” said Dulce Avalos, 18, a fan from Crystal.

“I love it,” said Colleen Hayes, a season-ticket holder from Burnsville. “It’s beautiful. I love light and airy and it’s all light and airy.”

Minutes after HKS principal Bryan Trubey finished unveiling the renderings to cheers and applause, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved the design and sent it to the city of Minneapolis for review.

At 1.6 million square feet, the stadium will be nearly twice the size of the outdated Dome. It’ll seat 65,000 fans for NFL games but accommodate up to 73,000 for special events, such as a Super Bowl.

The skyline’s newest addition will be asymmetrical and almost diamond-like in shape, featuring sharp angles and a roof line that rises to a peak on the downtown end, which doubles as the building’s grand entryway. From the side, that end juts out, resembling the prow of a ship or a jagged iceberg.

The building facade will be made of metal panels and a glazed glass curtain wall and have four entrances. A walkway will surround the stadium, leading fans to and from stadium gates.

Clerestory windows will circle the building just under its roof line. Five, 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors at concourse level will allow fans to enter and exit a plaza — more than 2 acres in size — just outside the stadium.

“What we’re really building is a state of the art, indoor, statewide park of sorts that will be used by thousands of Minnesotans throughout the years,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the stadium authority.

Trubey also showed renderings of the facility housing a Final Four tournament and a Motocross event, as well as baseball, hockey and soccer games.

“This will be the most versatile structure on the planet,” he said.

Conspicuous by its absence was a retractable roof, a key feature pursued by the team and authority, and one that many fans, longing for a return to outdoor football and the team’s storied past, wanted to see.

To compensate, and give fans a sense of the outdoors, architects created openings for natural light.

Page 2 of 2

About half the roof will have a hard covering or deck, with the remainder made up of ETFE, a transparent glass-like polymer that was used to cover the outside of the Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the “Water Cube,” site of the 2008 Olympic swimming competition.

“We think clear is the new retractable,” Trubey said.

Kelm-Helgen said the retractable roof was in play “for a long time” and that the final decision wasn’t made until last week. She said it ultimately was dropped because it was too costly and couldn’t fit within the construction budget without sacrificing other features the team and authority wanted.

In general, retractable roofs cost anywhere from $25 million to $50 million more to build and install than a fixed roof, industry experts have said.

“It was very obvious from a budget standpoint that we couldn’t do it,” Kelm-Helgen said.

‘One step closer to reality’

Inside, three of the stadium’s seven levels will feature suites, including some at field level. Elevators, escalators and ramps will take fans to seating in each stadium deck.

Concourses will be wider than those at the Metrodome, and there’ll be “many more bathrooms,” Kelm-Helgen said.

Speaking before the unveiling, Gov. Mark Dayton emphasized the thousands of jobs that the project would create.

“I’m just so excited about tonight because it makes this stadium one step closer to reality,” he said.

More detailed drawings of the interior design and finishings will be unveiled later this summer and fall, in time for the October groundbreaking. The city of Minneapolis has up to four months to review and approve the design and issue the necessary building permits.

“Awesome,” said David Gunderson of Brooklyn Park, as the program wrapped up. “It looks like a ship. The ship has landed.”

Added Ben Theis, of Golden Valley, “I like the idea of the new kind of retractable roof, with the covering.”

Still, one of his big questions remained unanswered after the nearly hourlong presentation.

“Now,” he said, “I want to know about the tailgating.”

We had a busy weekend.  One of my best friends from high school brought his twin boys up for a freestyle wrestling tournament on Saturday.  So we went and spent the day with them and watched one of their kids wrestle.  One of his twins couldn’t wrestle because he recently had a tumor removed from his leg.  His other kid easily won his bracket.  He’s a stud of a wrestler and is rated number one in the country in his age (he’s 11) and weight class.

After the wrestling tournament, they came over to the house and we grilled out and chatted for a while.  After they left, we went over to another friend of ours house.  They were having a crawfish boil.  His wife is from Louisiana and she throws this crawfish boil every year on Mother’s day weekend.  I refused the crawfish, but I tried her jambalaya and bread pudding and they were both great.  Southern’s know how to eat!

On Sunday, we celebrated Mother’s Day.  Mia made her a cook book with recipes from her and all her classmates from school.  I got Jennifer a card I forgot to sign (oops!), a box of chocolate from the candy factory across the street from my work and a charm for her bracelet.  It was a baby carriage, since we are 14 weeks pregnant.  It’s still weird to say that.  10 years of trying and thousands spent on medical procedures and finally, after giving up the procedures, we get it done on our own.  We also had Outback for dinner.  And of course, my wife had to work, but it was productive.  She wrote an offer on a house for some clients and it was accepted.

Speaking of pregnancy.  A couple weeks back, Jennifer tested positive for m-antibodies.  Her doctor passed on the results to a specialist and they said the levels were really low and that they were not worried about it, but they would continue to monitor the levels.  Well, her levels are higher from last week’s blood test, so she now has to see the specialist.  There is little online about it; however, I did find a baby website that had a thread about it and it was discussed in detail.  Out of all the antigens to get, the M is the best.  It’s very rare and issues with the baby are even rarer.  However, they will need to monitor from here on out.  Jennifer told me all of this before from talking to the doctor, but I like to do my own research. From my experiences in life, nothing can just come easy.

This morning I got a call from my brother that my grandma had a stroke and it didn’t look like she would make it.  Her left side was paralyzed, she wasn’t responsive and she was rushed to the hospital.  A few hours later he called and updated me.  A brain scan showed no blood to the brain and she opened her eyes briefly.  She was also able to squeeze a nurse’s hand with both her hands and she moved her toes.  So, that is a positive sign.  They haven’t ruled out a stroke or anything serious yet…but the situation certainly seems much better now than before.  They are wondering if it was a reaction to some new medication she is on.

ImageI haven’t posted about this, but the Minnesota Wild (my hockey team) is in the playoffs for the first time in years.  They are playing the number one seed Chicago Blackhawks.  So far, the Blackhawks have won three games to the Wild’s one in the best of seven series. 

Things are looking bleak for the Wild.  Prior to game one, the Wild number one goalie (Niklas Backstrom) hurt himself in pre-game warmups.  So, the Wild had to turn to Josh Harding.  Harding has missed most of this year dealing with issues related to having multiple sclerosis (MS), which would make for a great blog post on its own. 

Last night, game number four, Harding himself was injured and the Wild had to turn to their third goalie.  He proceeded to allow an extremely soft goal to make it 2-0.  Another goal later in the game, from a very difficult angle made it 3-0.  It didn’t matter, if you can’t even score one goal…you’re never going to win.

Game Five is this Thursday evening and I don’t like the Wild’s odds of going to Chicago and winning on the road.  However, the last big playoff push for the Wild was in 2003.  That year the Wild were down 3-1 in the first two rounds of the playoffs and came back to win both.  So, anything is possible.

Image

Playoff Beard

Hockey playoffs also means growing your playoff beard.  I have never had a beard before and I am not liking the gray on the chin.  But, as long as the Wild remain in the playoffs, I am keeping the beard.  And who knows, maybe I’ll keep it a bit longer. 

For those that follow my blog.  Our puppy, Griz, is getting bigger and bigger.  He’s also learning everyday.  We got him to learn the steps.  Which is good because we have a lot of steps off our deck.  He loves to bite still, but that is expected.  Oh, one last thing…we are telling our daughter Mia our little secret from my last blog tonight.

This isn’t a subject I enjoy talking about.  It’s been an ongoing issue now for around 10 years.  My wife and I tried to get pregnant years ago to no avail.  It was obvious, looking back, there was an issue with one of us.  At the time, I was in denial.

I apologize in advance…the timeline of events will not be accurate.  Some of the details will also be incorrect.

After tests, it was determined it was my issue.  I had a motility issue.  My “swimmers” didn’t swim.  I had several test samples and my motility rate was anywhere from 0% to 9%.  I think the doctors told us at a minimum; it needed to be around 20%.  I did; however, produce far more than average.  So, how can you get to where you want to go when you are surrounded by a mosh pit.  That’s what I always said anyway.  I suppose that was my way of dealing with the fact “I can’t get my wife pregnant!”

We then started looking into medical procedures that would assist us.  We decided on intrauterine insemination (IUI).  This is the process of washing the sperm and shooting it directly into the uterus.  In order to improve our chances, my wife had to take daily shots and Clomid pills in order to mass produce eggs during ovulation.  Jennifer went thru a lot and I was shown a room and given a Home and Garden magazine to do my duty.  That’s not a lie.

We tried IUI several time and each time my boys failed to do their job.  Each time my wife would take it hard and I knew why.  Because I was failing her.  I could not get my wife pregnant, even with 21st century medicine and Home and Garden.

But, that didn’t mean we could not be parents.  Prior to getting married and talking about having children, my wife expressed an interest in adopting a baby girl from China.  She has always wanted to do that.  I had no problems with that.  We figured we would have 2 or 3, and then adopt down the road.

Because of my infertility issues, we decided we would look into adoption sooner, rather than later.  Ironically, my neighbor growing up (and a fellow Iowa State grad), worked at an adopting center in St. Paul, MN.  And even more ironic, she worked in the China department.  So, it was sign.

We went thru the process.  It wasn’t quick.  The process is very drawn out and expensive.  But, we took it in stride and eventually received a picture of our daughter.  It wasn’t long after that first photo, Jennifer was on a plane to China for almost two weeks to close the deal and bring her home.

We officially started our family and we couldn’t be happier.  However, we still tried getting pregnant.  We started a couple more IUI cycles until we finally, a couple years ago, decided to try in vitro fertilization (IVF), this is when eggs and sperm are brought together in a laboratory glass dish to allow the sperm to fertilize an egg.  In our case, they also did Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).  ICSI, is when they drill a hole in the egg and insert the sperm.  How small of a drill bit did they use?  They didn’t think my boys would be able to swim strong enough to drill thru themselves.  How can that be!  I am a 400 pound plus bencher!

This process, while improving the odds over IUI, is also far more costly and dangerous.  Jennifer would have to go under when they retrieved the eggs.  I was given a much more appropriate magazine this time and they also had videos.  After all, we went to Mayo Clinic for this, and they are the best in the world at treating the sick and their library of porn.

After a few days, we ended with five embryos; however, only a couple looked real strong.  They ended up inserting two of them.  They wouldn’t, out of ethical reasons, insert more than three.  That’s how the Octomom ended up with eight kids.

It didn’t work.  Failure again.  We haven’t tried a medical procedure since.  At some point, you have to just see the writing on the wall.  It was speaking real clear.  “You will never get your wife pregnant!”  That, and it’s very expensive.  I have come to accept the fact that there is something wrong with me and we can’t do anything about it.  I am not any less of a man because of it.

Even with my issues, this doesn’t mean we have to be a single child family.  So, my wife put us on the waiting list to adopt from the Marshall Islands.  In fact, a month or so ago, we got an e-mail telling us they are opening the Marshall Islands up for adoption again and they wanted to know if we wanted to remain on the waiting list.  So, perhaps one day we will have another child to add to our family….

…..On April 5, 2013, I watched and saw its heartbeat.

Don’t give up, don’t ever give up – Jim Valvano